“Disturbances” session at 5th OSM PAGES – Zaragoza May 2017

PAGES and the local organizing committee, Quaternary Terrestrial Environments group (Pyrenean Institute of Ecology-CSIC), welcome you to Spain at The 5th PAGES Open Science Meeting (OSM)  to be held in Zaragoza from 9-13 May 2017.

The GPWG invites you to submit a paper to the following session:

Disturbance dynamics across spatial and temporal scales: fire, wind, pathogens and post-disturbance run off as drivers of environmental change

Co-conveners: Graciela Gil-Romera (graciela.gil@ipe.csic.es), Jennifer Clear (jenniferlclear@gmail.com), Daniele Colombaroli (daniele.colombaroli@ips.unibe.ch), Richard Chiverrell (rchiv@liv.ac.uk), Angelica Furdean (angelica.feurdean@gmail.com) and Jesse Morris (jesse.morris@geog.utah.edu)

Disturbance dynamics (fire, wind, pathogens, post-disturbance sediment runoff) drive an array of ecological functioning: fire regulates the carbon cycle and drives vegetation dynamics, but is also a threatening risk in many populated areas; wind is an essential natural function delivering perception, however severe windstorms alter forest composition and cause severe structural damage to plantations and settlements; pathogens are an integrative part of the forested system, yet cause widespread tree mortality and consequently loss in ecosystem functioning, aesthetic and property value; flood events are a primary source of post-disturbance sediment runoff, with long-term ecological impacts over soils, vegetation and nutrient stocks. These disturbances are not mutually exclusive and often self-reinforcing across space and time e.g. wind may intensify the area burnt during a fire or a sever windstorm may initiate a pathogen outbreak, while a post-disturbed landscape will become more susceptible to sediment runoff.

Understanding the effect of disturbance dynamics on ecosystem properties such as species diversity, community assembly, structure and resilience, over timescales ranging from decades to millennia is essential to establish adequate baselines to predict potential environmental threshold responses under future IPCC climate scenarios. The study of current disturbance dynamics and risks, including prevention and mitigation, requires the understanding of the relative drivers; climate, vegetation, landscape structure and human activities (such as plantations, farming, grazing and logging) and associated feedbacks.

This session aims to:
– identify fire, wind, pathogen and sediment fluxes in the palaeoecological, sedimentary and dendroecological records and their effect on vegetation structure, biodiversity and other ecosystem properties;
– identify the drivers (climate, vegetation, landscape structure and human activity) and interactions between disturbance regimes; and
– understand the Climate-Human-Disturbance nexus across time and space using multiproxy and modelling approaches.

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